Lithuania in the News
2nd November 2014
Lithuania Reaches a Major Milestone in its Search for Energy Independence
"Independence" arriving at Klaipėda seaport. Photo courtesy
The arrival and docking of the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) storage ship "Independence" in Lithuania's port city Klaipėda last Monday, 27 October 2014, marked an important milestone in Lithuanian's search for energy independence. The ship "Independence" is a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) for Lithuania's LNG terminal. It will allow Lithuania to diversify its sources of natural gas and will stop Russia abusing its monopoly power in the supply of gas to Lithuania, which had resulted in Lithuania paying the highest prices for gas in Europe.
The arrival of "Independence" was greeted with jubilation by Lithuania and its friends and allies internationally, as it signalled that Russia's stranglehold on gas supplies to Lithuania has finally been broken. Tangible results of this were already to be seen in May this year, when with the arrival of "Independence" looming, negotiations with the Russian gas supplier Gasprom resulted in Gasprom at last reducing the price of gas to Lithuania. International dignitaries taking part in the LNG terminal opening ceremony included Latvia's Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma, acting special envoy for international energy affairs at the US State Department Amos J. Hochstein, European Commission representatives and many other international dignitaries. Amos J. Hochstein conveyed the greetings from the US Secretary of State John Kerry.
"Independence" was built by Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea and Lithuania will become the fifth country in the world to use FSRU technology. The huge floating terminal is three soccer fields in length. At full capacity it will be able to supply of up to 90% of the
The launching of "Independence" in South Korea in February 2014. Photo courtesy
gas needs of Lithuania and the other Baltic States. The first ship carrying a load of LNG, the "Golar Seal", docked alongside "Independence" next day on October 28 to allow begin testing of the LNG facility. The LNG terminal is scheduled to begin full operations on 3 December 2014.
The LNG terminal is of major importance to Lithuania, but it is only a first step towards greater energy independence. Two other major projects to interconnect Lithuania's electricity network to the rest of Europe are under way. The NordBalt High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) undersea link will connect Lithuania to Sweden with a capacity of 700 MW. With an undersea cable link of approx. 400km it will be second longest undersea electricity cable link in the world. It is scheduled to start operation in December 2015. The other electricity connection also to be implemented in 2015 is the LitPolLink HV connection to Poland's electricity grid.

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